Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Frog Principal by Stephanie Calmenson - Teaching Ideas

Mr. Bundy loves being a principal. He loves it so much he wants to hire a magician for the next school assembly. 

Unfortunately for Mr. Bundy, the magician turns him into a frog during his audition. The magician doesn’t know how to turn him back and Mr. Bundy doesn’t want anyone to see him like that, so they both run out of his office. Mr. Bundy heads to the local pond where he tries to figure out what to do. Mr. Bundy wants desperately to be the principal, even if he is a frog, so he does the only thing he can, convinces the students that a talking frog can be a great principal. Mr. Bundy is allowed to fill in as principal while he is “gone”.

Your students will love what happens to Mr. Bundy the frog principal as he turns back into Mr. Bundy the principal.
Below is a list of reading skills, strategies and ideas that you can use to create a meaningful lesson to use with this book.

I have also created an Asking Questions Freebie for you and your students to enjoy.

Reading level: 2.9
Theme/subject: new life experiences, school
Genre: humorous fiction
Suggested Vocabulary/phrases: phone book, amuse, amphibians, bog, hopping mad, scrawled, beloved, cattails, fainted, stunned, trampled, refreshing

Reading skills and strategies:
  • Asking questions - {possible questions before} I wonder how a frog became a principal. I wonder what kind of school it is. {possible questions during} I wonder when the magician is coming back. I wonder how Mr. Bundy will turn back into a person. {possible questions after} I wonder if the kids will figure out the Mr. B was really Mr. Bundy. **Remember to have your students answer/reflect their questions.
  • Author's point of view – Third. Be sure to find 3 pieces of evidence to support this (Mr. Bundy, they, the kids).
  • Author's purpose – entertaining {evidence} People cannot turn into frogs. Frogs cannot talk and people don’t eat fly’s.
  • Beginning, middle, end - {most important event from beginning} The magician that Mr. Bundy wanted to use for an assembly turned Mr. Bundy into a frog. {most important event from middle} The frog became the principal of the school. {most important event from end} Mr. Bundy was able to turn himself back into a person.
  • Cause and effect – Why did Mr. Bundy call a magician? Because he thought the kids would love to see some magic at their next assembly. Why did the magician rush out of Mr. Bundy’s office? Because he needed to find the instruction book to turn Mr. Bundy back into a person. Why did Mr. Bundy hop out of his office window? Because Ms. Moore the Vice Principal came in and he didn’t want her to see him. How come the kids promised the frog that he could be principal? Because that was the only way for them to get their baseball back. Why did the kids think they didn’t need to keep their promise? Because they crossed their fingers behind their backs. Why does Ms. Moore decide to let the frog be principal? Because a promise is a promise. Why were the kindergarteners trying not to giggle? Because Mr. B was swimming through their water. How come Mr. Bundy turned back into a person? Because he got hit on the head with a baseball and started reciting a magic spell. How come the kids were so excited to have Mr. Bundy back? Because they thought it was embarrassing to have a frog as a principal.
  • Character analysis - describe Mr. Bundy {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character}
  • Classify & categorize – classify principals – categorize what a good principal does and what a bad principal does.
  • Compare & contrast – Mr. Bundy the person to Mr. Bundy the frog. Your principal to Mr. Bundy.
  • Connections - {possible text-to-self connections} Having a great principal. {possible text-to-text connections} You can connect this book to any children’s book about principals, such as A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech, Mr. Tanen’s Ties by Maryann Cocca-Leffler or The Principal from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler.
  • Drawing conclusions & inferencing – Why are the kids crossing their fingers behind their back? {text clues} The kids are promising the frog that he can be the school principal as they are crossing their fingers. {what I know} I know that anyone crossing their fingers when the make a promise means they don’t have to keep their promise. {my conclusion} I think the kids are crossing their fingers because they just wanted to get their ball back and really didn’t want the frog to be their principal.
  • Fact & opinion{fact} Mr. Bundy called a magician. The magician turned Mr. Bundy into a frog. The kids promised the frog he could be principal. Mr. B got knocked in the head with a baseball. {opinion} Mr. Bundy is the best principal ever. The magician was really good. The kids loved having a frog as a principal.
  • Main idea & details - {main idea} The story is mostly about a frog being the principal for a school. {details} Mr. Bundy, the school’s principal left a note saying he had an emergency and would be back soon. The frog in the pond asked the kids if he could be their principal. The kids were embarrassed about the frog being their principal.
  • Plot - the turning point or climax in the story was when the frog got hit in the head with a baseball.
  • Predict – What do you thing the story is going to be about? Do you think the magician will come back? Do you think the frog will make a good principal? How do you think Mr. Bundy will turn back into a person? Do you think anyone will figure out that the frog was really Mr. Bundy?
  • Problem & solution - {problem} The problem in the story is that Mr. Bundy is a frog and doesn’t know how to get back to being a person. {solution} Mr. Bundy solved his problem by reciting a magic spell after he got hit in the head with a baseball.
  • Sequencing – Mr. Bundy called a magician. The magician turned Mr. Bundy into a frog. The magician ran away. Mr. Bundy left a note and jumped out the window. The kids lost their baseball in the pond. The frog promised to get their ball from the pond if they promised to let him be principal. Ms. Moore held an assembly to tell the kids that Mr. Bundy was going to be gone for a while. The frog came to the assembly. Ms. Moore told the frog he could be principal. The frog told the kids to call him Mr. B. The kids were embarrassed to have a frog as a principal. Mr. B got hit in the head with a baseball while he watched the kids play. When Mr. B was knocked out he started saying a magic spell. Mr. B turned back into Mr. Bundy. Everyone was happy to have Mr. Bundy back.
  • Story elements - list title, author, characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • Strong thought – Mr. Bundy that he could be a good principal even as a frog. Do you agree? Why or why not?
  • Summarize - {someone} Mr. Bundy {wanted} a magician for the next assembly {but} but the magician turned him into a frog {so} Mr. Bundy talked the kids into letting him (the frog) into being their principal. {then} Then Mr. Bundy got hit in the head with a flying baseball and he {finally} finally was able to turn back into a person.
  • Visualize – Visualize what your school would be like if you had a frog as a principal.
The Picture Book Teacher's Edition Click the above picture to get this freebie.

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Happy reading!


  1. I have never read this book before! It looks fun and engaging. I will defintiely have to grab a copy of this book and do this activity with my kiddos. Thanks for sharing!

  2. What a wonderful resource! I'm going to pass this along to my reading folks. Thanks so much for sharing.


Thoughts and comments are always welcome!

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